Philippines shrugs off China-Russia naval drills

By Shirley Escalante and staff

The Philippines has brushed aside the joint naval exercises between the China and Russia, saying they do not add to tensions with China.

Six days of joint naval exercises are under way between China and Russia.

The drills, launched on Sunday, are taking place in the Yellow Sea off China’s east coast.

Philippines officials say the naval exercises do not impinge on Philippines territory and its 200 nautical mile-Exclusive Economic Zone.

President Benigno Aquino says he is more concerned about resolving the Scarborough shoal dispute.

Manila and Beijing have been locked in a standoff over Scarborough, a group of islands in the South China Sea, since Chinese vessels blocked Philippine attempts to arrest eight Chinese fishing boats’ crews earlier this month.

Manila says it will raise the Scarborough Shoal dispute at a high-level bilateral meeting with the US next week.

Joint exercises between the Philippines and the United States armed forces are being held southwest of the Philippines, near disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Manila has shrugged off Beijing’s warning that the joint military exercises could lead to a confrontation with China.

It says the exercises have been planned before the Scarborough shoal conflict erupted.


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